Well-known educator and activist Angela Davis visited Athenian School's campus Monday morning as a part of the 2010 Round Square Americas Regional Conference taking place through Wednesday. Bringing together 21 schools representing six countries and three continents, the ceremony centered on the idea of future leaders.
Students seated behind Davis reportedly sounded surprised that the day's keynote address was to come from someone who had made the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List. Stories from her past, including as a young girl growing up in segregated Birmingham, Ala., were shared with a theme of empowerment.
"As a young person, I thought the revolution was coming tomorrow," she said. "We were all persuaded that in five years, the entire world would be transformed."
While history didn't write itself exactly as she and her peers had initially wanted, Davis told the students that the urgency and optimism they had as youth helped moved toward a change.
"We win victories we might not imagine," she said.
Developing students into global leaders part of the curriculum at Athenian, which was a founding member of the Round Square international network of schools with the same goals.
Also addressing the crowed seated at the base of Mt. Diablo was 13-year-old Bilall Rajan of Canada. Already, he is a child and environmental activist, author and UNICEF Canada Ambassador. He's also raised more than $5 million for charity.
"It took a while to make a difference, but you can make an impact," he said.
The key to making an impact is to start now.
Both Rajan and Davis insisted that by taking the lead with action, youth can be leaders of today and not at some unknown point in the future.
To learn more about Round Square, visit www.roundsquare.org.